May 24 2007

Shelby: NASA Recognizes Need for Lunar Robotics

LPRP Office to Remain at Marshall Space Flight Center

U. S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, announced that the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program (LPRP) office will remain at Marshall Space Flight Center and be funded at $120 million over the next six years.  In March, NASA proposed closing that office, which would have resulted in the loss of numerous current and future jobs and millions of dollars at Marshall. 

“I thought NASA’s decision to close LPRP was a huge mistake,” said Shelby.  “LPRP is vital to the successful implementation of the President’s Vision for Space Exploration and is a viable component of NASA’s future missions.  As similar missions did prior to man first landing on the Moon, the programs managed by the LPRP office will provide critical data as we prepare to send manned flights to the Moon and ultimately sustain a long-term human presence in Space.”

“I am glad that NASA recognized Marshall as much more than a rocket center,” said Shelby.  “We must ensure that the talented staff at the Space Center continues to play a key role in America’s expanding efforts in space.”

After Senator Shelby expressed the importance of Marshall and the LPRP office in Space Exploration to NASA, the Senator and NASA worked together to ensure that the LPRP office remained a component of NASA’s space flight vision.

The LPRP office will continue its existing oversight activities for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing (LCROSS) mission.  The office will also undertake a new effort in planning and oversight of integrated lunar mapping, oversee technology development efforts, support NASA’s Lunar Architecture Team, and manage NASA’s education and public outreach for understanding the lunar environment.